Demolition cost of burned building given

Estimates range from $145K to $254K

Gloversville Fire Department Chief Thomas Groff delivered proposals to the Common Council Tuesday from two contractors for demolition and debris removal at the former JBF Industries tannery that was destroyed by fire on Feb. 10. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council on Tuesday reviewed proposals from two contractors to demolish and remove debris from the former JBF Industries tannery property that was severely damaged by fire on Feb. 10.

Fire broke out at the abandoned warehouse at 41 W. 11th Ave. around 7:30 a.m. Feb. 10. City firefighters, assisted by other area fire units, spent most of the day getting the fire under control. No one was hurt fighting the blaze.

The Gloversville Police Department, in conjunction with the Gloversville Fire Department, the Fulton County Office of Emergency Management, and the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control, have been investigating what they called a “suspicious” fire that started sometime in the early morning.

Arson has not been ruled out as a probable cause.

Gloversville Fire Chief Thomas Groff delivered the proposals for demolition to the Common Council that the city received in response to a published request. Groff said that he also emailed six or seven area contractors to notify them of the city’s request for proposals. The city received three responses, however, one contractor was not qualified to handle the asbestos that was identified on site prior to the fire.

The Common Council reviewed proposals from two contractors Tuesday for demolition and debris removal at the former JBF Industries tannery that was destroyed by fire on Feb. 10. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

The qualified proposals came from Dan’s Hauling & Demo of Wynantskill for a total cost of $253,625 and Pereene Contracting of Amsterdam for a total cost of $144,625.

The demolition would include about four to five structures that were involved in the fire and were left unstable. The main tannery, physical plant and water treatment facilities would be included in the demolition. Three undamaged buildings would remain in tact on site.

City Attorney Anthony Casale pointed out to the council that the difference between the bids is about $110,000.

One factor contributing to the large price difference is the estimated tonnage of debris that will be removed from the site. Dan’s Hauling estimated 1,750 tons of debris would be removed while Pereene estimated the amount at 1,200 tons. This figure factors into the other itemized estimates provided in the proposals.

“It’s really an arbitrary guess, because they’re just looking at a pile and trying to figure out from rudimentary judgment what it could be,” Groff said. “Both of them were scratching their heads, because there is quite a big mess.”

Additionally, Dan’s Hauling estimated county tipping fees at $43,750, air monitoring costs of $21,875, contractor’s fees of $188,000 and six to eight weeks for site cleanup. Pereene estimated $30,000 for county tipping fees, $15,625 for air monitoring, $99,000 for contracting and five weeks for cleanup.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors voted to reduce landfill tipping fees during the Feb. 12 meeting from $75 per ton fee to $25 per ton for demolition debris from the site of the fire, that fee reduction was factored into the proposals.

Fourth Ward Councilman Steven Smith and First Ward Councilwoman Marcia Weiss questioned what figures could change if the council approved one of the proposals.

According to Groff the amounts and fees surrounding tonnage and air monitoring could change. The cost of air monitoring due to the presence of asbestos on site is $625 per day. Groff said that the timeline and the contracting fees included in the proposals would remain the same.

“It looks like Pereene’s possibly, if we use the same numbers as Dan’s, would go up maybe $21,000 to $22,000,” Weiss said.

Groff noted that Pereene has done demolition work in the city before and has all of the necessary certifications.

Also included in the proposals was an additional estimate for demolishing another building on site that was partially collapsed before last month’s fire and a three to four story stairwell that does not lead anywhere as the building it was attached to burned away. Dan’s Hauling estimated the cost of demolishing the additional structure at $7,500 and Pereene estimated the cost at $4,000.

Groff said that the council could decide if they wanted to add this service if they moved forward with the proposals.

When asked where the funds to cover the cost of demolition would come from, city Finance Commissioner Tammie Weiterschan said that there was about $25,000 in the budget for cleanup and the remainder would come from the city’s contingency budget. Weiterschan said that the contingency budget for 2018 is $375,000.

The council members noted that any expenditure of contingency funds would need to be replaced for the 2019 city budget. Sixth Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski then asked if there was any possibility of the city recouping the cost of cleanup if the council decided to move forward with a proposal.

Casale said that the property was in an exempt status and the corporation had been dissolved. He noted that the city could make an effort to collect repayment for the cleanup, but he said that he would not make a comment in public “about the prospect of realizing any dollars from that effort.”

Third Ward Councilwoman Betsy Batchelor raised questions surrounding the council’s responsibility for the building.

“I would hesitate to throw any more money at it unless we have a clear line of ownership,” Batchelor said. “I’m not comfortable voting on what you’re suggesting until some of those questions are answered.”

The council members agreed that they had unresolved questions, Mayor Dayton King and Casale said that the discussion of ownership should be discussed in executive session.

“At the end of the of the day we have a building that burned, we still maintain control of the building and we have some cost figures of what it would cost to clean it up,” King said.

The council did not take action on the proposals during the meeting.